Today is my stop on the blog tour for Two Voices, One Story the true story of Elaine Rizzo and her adopted daughter Amy. Read on for an interview with the authors which looks at why they decided to write the book and the journey it took them on together.
The Official Book Blurb
This is the true story of a girl called Amy and the English “mother” who adopted her from an institute in China when she was just a baby.
It’s a story about love, family and identity; and the unbreakable bond between mother and daughter.
When Amy came to be adopted in 1999, China’s then notorious one-child policy had given rise to a generation of missing girls. Amy was one of them, destined to life in an orphanage if she was lucky enough to survive. That is, until she was adopted by a loving British couple who were desperate to give her the home she deserved; Elaine and Lee.
In this moving autobiography, Amy and Elaine chart their own personal experiences of their shared adoption story. Theirs is not a political account, but one which is open about the challenges of adopting a child from a foreign country and the long journey that follows; from China to the UK and from infancy through to adolescence, as Amy and her new family learn and grow together.
Now a bright and ambitious young woman on the eve of her eighteenth birthday, Amy is braced for an exciting journey into adulthood, one which her proud mother is delighted to be able to share.
Two Voices, One Story is a frank but uplifting account of the complex adoption process and the profound relationship between a mother and her adopted child.
How we came to write the book
Amy: Writing down a permanent record of my journey from abandoned baby in China to my adoption by my English parents was something we both felt compelled to do. A sort of dialogue to piece together some of the old photographs we had from the nineties and early 2000’s if you like.
My eighteenth birthday was approaching and it almost became a celebration of our lives together as I entered adulthood.
I had the idea to name the book ‘Two Voices, One Story’, as we were both giving our own personal accounts of our experience, starting with my mum here in England and ending with me celebrating my eighteenth birthday and the lives we have both had in between.
Once the idea was in our heads, we spoke about the book continually, my mum writing her account from the beginning before I was even born and then me discussing my feelings and writing them all down.
Elaine: Initially we wrote the book purely for the future generations of our family. It was important to us for them to know about Amy’s humble beginnings and the incredible, loving mother daughter bond that had developed between us over the last eighteen years.
On completion of the book a number of friends expressed an interest in reading our story. Obviously they were fully aware of our situation, but nobody had ever heard the real story in all of its detail.
Once discovering the interest that had been created in what was to us just our journey as a family, we soon realised that it might have a much wider appeal.
We worked at home on the book twice a week for around eighteen months during the cold and miserable months, we were side tracked a bit by summer and the nicer evenings but who isn’t?
Amy: Mum started writing the first chapter of the book which goes back to 1995 (before I was even born) so most of the start of the book is about her losing a baby and not being able to have any children before her and my English Dad decided to go for adoption.
So to start with, my part was just to chime in with comments, mostly with facts about the one-child policy in China in the 1990s and the flood in the region I was born in Spring 1998, as this was the background which lead to me living in an institute as a tiny baby.
The second chapter, my Mum and Dad’s journey to China to bring me home, was my Mum describing what happened while they were there, with me adding in the bits I know about myself, plus a few things I’ve always imagined about my Chinese parents.
I also added a few things which my English Dad has told me over the years about the time they were in China.
So the first couple of chapters were pretty much lead by my Mum with me taking my cue from her to add what I knew, what I imagined and what I’d been told.
Elaine: The third chapter, which deals with the time when we first brought Amy home as a baby, was firstly written mostly by me remembering things from when she was little and again, she took her cue from me, chiming in with what she had been told by members of the family and what she could remember..
As the chapter progresses, however, the focus changes to more and more of Amy’s own recollections of her early childhood in England, after she had started school, with my own comments being added to supplement these.
Amy: The last chapter, from the time we moved to Wales, when I was 10 years old is the longest and was the most difficult to write for me, as it is mostly about what happened during my adolescence, so this time it was me who was doing most of the writing.
We ended up having to write this chapter over again and Mum suggested that we split it up into two sections – my own experiences and what happened when we decided to re-build our house – to stop me getting bogged down in it.
Elaine: Once the book had been written and sent off to the publishers, each of us concentrated on her own strengths when it came to the production, so I “the serious girl” who works in finance, dealt with the editing and Amy, “the artistic girl” who has a place at college to study photography, selected the photographs and chose the book cover design.
Both: It was quite simply a project we worked on together, as a little hobby, during which we both found out even more about ourselves and each other.
Thanks to both Amy and Elaine and best of luck with the book which is on sale from tomorrow, 21st March and can be purchased at the following link:
About the Authors:
Elaine Rizzo (Elaine Masters) works in finance as a licensed insolvency practitioner for ClearDebt a company based in Manchester. Her daughter Amy Masters is now eighteen and at college. She enjoys art and design and her ambition is to become a photographer when she graduates. Both now live near Cardigan in West Wales.
Please do look in on one of the other fab blogs taking part in the tour for more articles and book reviews.